Friday, September 26, 2008

Debates in Limbo

McCain threatens to pull out of tonight’s debate, wants to debate at WU

Published: Friday, September 26, 2008
Updated: Friday, September 26, 2008

MCT Campus

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) walks with U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., September 25, 2008. McCain returned to Washington on Thursday to address the nation’s financial crisis.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain upended the presidential campaign this week, threatening not to attend the first presidential debate—set to take place tonight—should Congress not reach a deal by that time on the proposed federal bailout plan meant to alleviate the current economic crisis.

Under McCain’s plan, laid out by Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the first presidential debate would be held at Washington University on Oct. 2 instead of the vice presidential debate, which would take place in Oxford, Miss.—where the presidential debate is set to occur tonight—on an undetermined date.

“We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved,” McCain said in a statement Wednesday.
As of this writing, the fate of the debate, which is set to be held at the University of Mississipi is unclear; most recently, McCain has stated that he will not wait for a final vote to decide whether he will attend the debate scheduled for Friday night, but rather would attend only if the White House and members of Congress reach an agreement on bailout legislation.

Both the Commission on Presidential Debates and Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign have said that they would like the debates to continue as scheduled.

Washington University is also planning to host the vice presidential debate as previously set up.

“We’re just moving ahead as planned. I don’t want to conjecture,” Sue McGinn, the University’s executive director of communications, said.

Thursday afternoon, it appeared that a group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill had come to a preliminary agreement on a counterproposal to President Bush’s original $700 billion bailout plan, but by the evening the proposal had fallen apart.

Although lawmakers had initially hoped to have a bill on the President’s desk by the weekend, by 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, talks had broken down without any indiciation about how the government will attempt to resolve the crisis in financial and credit markets.

Though there was speculation that McCain’s decision may make the vice presidential debate the first event of the debate cycle, the Obama campaign has announced that Obama will be attending the first presidential debate regardless of whether McCain decides to attend.

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